Peer39 CEO Andy Ellenthal discussed his company's strategy and semantic advertising's potential.
AdExchanger.com: Why is it important to be embedded within exchanges and aggregators?
AE: It is important for us to be “plugged into” major inventory sources, such as exchanges and aggregators, for a number of reasons. These inventory sources have different needs than buyers. Semantics provide great solutions to buyers, exchanges, and aggregators, but the value for each varies.
First, aggregators’ main role is to manage and sell the inventory that was not cleared through their publisher partners’ directs sales channels. This non-premium inventory stream still provides strong value for advertisers. We help determine the value of that inventory by giving sellers the opportunity to see it in the form of ad categories of impressions, at scale, and set pricing appropriately. We all know that Finance, Auto, Health, and Travel should sell at a higher price than News or Science. With semantic power on their side, buyers and sellers are able to select the categories that are most valuable for their individual goals, forgoing less suitable inventory.
Second, inventory sources need to make buyers feel comfortable. Quality of sites and protection against pages that might be questionable is essential. To be clear, I’m not talking about ad verification here. I’m talking about alignment. Advertisers have varying sensitivities and cautions. Some brands don’t align with Alcohol content. Ever. Period. Other brands may be more concerned with Hard News. It’s not as black and white as Safe or Unsafe. A prominent soda brand may invite Alcohol content, but avoid Health, for example.
Third, many of our partners have a slew of targeting options. Some are incredibly effective at reaching small, but important, audience segments. Peer39 provides insights on impressions where there may not be any audience data. This kind of reach is definitely something special. Also, our presence in exchanges and aggregator platforms increases our data’s availability. Plenty of buyers aren’t coming through a DSP and may not be able to employ Peer39 on their own.
How has semantic advertising and users of your technology evolved in the past year?
What has been remarkably clear in 2010 is that scale matters. Not a big ah-ha in December, but a year ago we certainly did not foresee a demand to increase our scale by 1000 times. While the demand for scale has become increasingly necessary due to the greater amount of inventory available, it’s also directly correlated to advertiser demand. When advertisers see that on a particular inventory source they can access 500 million semantically classified automotive impressions, and they can overlay audience data, they get pretty excited.
Can semantic ad targeting move beyond the PC-browser display channel? If so, what's the next big opportunity?
From our perspective, there is no difference between semantically analyzing and categorizing content for mobile, browser or any other browser. In fact, we're already enabling the publishers accessing our technology to serve semantically relevant ads via mobile devices. Content is content.
By John Ebbert